NEW YORK – A season of suspenseful races and outstanding performances on the ice was accompanied by historic levels of attendance at National Hockey League arenas in 2007-08. Total attendance of 21,236,255 and the per-game average of 17,265 set records in each category and marked the third consecutive season of growth.
"Our fans have outdone themselves, and everyone at the National Hockey League is extremely appreciative,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “This unprecedented support is only the latest affirmation that our fans are the best fans anywhere.”
NHL teams played to 93.6% of capacity over the 1,230 games in outdoing the 2006-07 season figures of 20,861,787 and 16,961 per-game, or 91.7% of capacity. In 2005-06, the figures were 20,854,169 and 16,955. NHL games have attracted 20 million or more in each of the past seven seasons.
In 2007-08, the six Canada-based teams once again sold every possible ticket. With sellout crowds of 21,273 at Bell Centre for each of their 41 home games, the Montreal Canadiens again led in per-game average. The Pittsburgh Penguins sold out their season for the first time in franchise history and were joined by the Philadelphia Flyers (19,556), the Minnesota Wild (318 consecutive sellouts of 18,500-plus since they entered the League), the New York Rangers (18,200) and the Anaheim Ducks (17,193). Several other clubs, including the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks, were virtually sold out.
The St. Louis Blues, (up 41% to 17,610 per game), the Chicago Blackhawks (up 32% to 16,814), the Washington Capitals (up 11% to 15,473) and the New Jersey Devils (up 10% to 15,564 at their new home, Prudential Center) all enjoyed significant increases.
The aggregate and per-game average figures included sellouts of 17,426 for each of the season-opening games at between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks at O2 Arena in London. For the purposes of calculation, the Buffalo Sabres were credited with a normal regular-season sellout (18,690) for the Winter Classic against the Pittsburgh Penguins on New Year’s Day at Ralph Wilson Stadium; including the full Winter Classic attendance of 71,217, the aggregate NHL attendance increases to 21,288,782, and the per-game increases to 17,302.